To discuss an idea of space, I believe it is critical to understand its definition even though we use the term often. Since we are living in the 21st century in which our planet Earth is considerably small and communication is easy, I hereby list the definition of “space” and images of space (1st image by Google) searched by 15 languages below in order to get a more comprehensive understanding of what space is in different cultures under the perpetual update of human knowledge.
Space (English): A period of time; a limited extent in one, two, or three dimension; an extent set apart or available; the distance from other people or things in order to remain comfortable; one of the degrees between or above or below the lines of a musical staff; a boundless three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction; physical space independent of what occupies it; the region beyond the earth’s atmosphere; a blank area separating words or lines; a set of mathematical elements and especially of abstractions of all the points on a line, in a plane or in physical space; linage; broadcast time available especially to advertisers accommodation on a public vehicle; the opportunity of assert or experience one’s identity or needs freely; an opportunity for privacy or time to oneself.
空間 (Chinese): Emptiness; void; sky; space; room
Χώρος /Khôra (Greek): Room; space
अंतरिक्ष/Antarikṣa (Hindi): An interval, intervening time or space, gap; inner space; space; sky;
الفضاء (Arabic): Space; outer space; empty area; gap; sky
Raum (German): Ambient; area; cave chamber, cave room; cavity; chamber; compartment; district; range; region; room for training course; scope; space; volume; zone
l’espace (French) : Space; fact; moment
מרחב (Hebrew): Open space, wild, wildness, wilderness; space, expanse, scope, roominess, vastness, breadth, capaciousness; region; freedom; wide, broad; large; spacious, roomy; comprehensive
Spazio (Italian): room, space
空き容量 Aki yōryō (Japanese): Empty; sky; vacant; vacuum; void; contain; form; looks; amount; consider;estimate; measure; quantity; surmise; weight;
Nafasi (Swahili): Space; place; time; opportunity; chance; respite
공간 gong-gan (Korean): Void space; vacancy; room; area; the air
Пространство (Russian): Area; field; range; room; space; spread; stretch; reach; extent; expanse; expansion; amplitude
Spacio (Spanish): Space, capacity; distance between objects; space, interval of time; lowness, delay (tardanza), procrastination; recreation, diversion; musical interval; in printing, space, type which separates words
Espaço (Portugese): The unlimited 3-dimensional expanse in which everything is located; (mathematics) any set of points that satisfy a set of postulates of some kind; space for movement; an empty area (usually bounded in some way between things); opportunity for; a blank character used to separate successive words in writing or printing; blank area; one of the areas between or below or above the lines of a musical staff.
From these different definitions and images about space, some of them gave me a better insight about how space is related to me: The opportunity of assert or experience one’s identity or needs freely; an opportunity for privacy or time to oneself; emptiness. This is not to say that I don’t care about the space “beyond the earth’s atmosphere”, nor I don’t pay attention to the “boundless three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction”, but at this stage of life in the world that images and information are flashing around me I need to find this “space” or “opportunity” to re-assert my identity and life pursuit. This reminded me of René Descartes, who had constantly traveled during his youth to experience and learn as well as to search for his primary interest in life. Even though I don’t have the luxury to travel recently, but I hope being back to school gives me this “space” as an empirical environment for exploring ideas in architecture. This “space” might be tangible and visible. It seems to be a physical atmosphere based on the external environment with the relevant people associated to it. However, if my mind has the emptiness to contain and has the time to think, this “space” can be also much less independent from the external environment.
Immanuel Kant has once written in his Inaugural Dissertation: “Space is not something objective and real, nor a substance, nor an accident, nor a relation; instead, it is subjective and ideal, and originates from the mind’s nature in accord with a stable law as a scheme, as it was, for coordinating everything sensed externally.” In other words, this “space” is created within one’s mind with the interaction with the external world. Since I am constantly trying to find this “space” or “opportunity” to identify myself and lifetime pursuit, is it better for me to look back into my mind and find the void in order to put me staying on the track that I would like to continue? If yes, then what is this track and where is this track? This track is indeed coming from the external world and going to the external world. So when one tries to find this “space” to freely identify oneself and pursuit, this space seems to be private in the mind but still strongly connected to the outside world.
Inside of my mind I see a translucent cube within a fiber-weaved sphere. Inside of the cube there is myself looking for an opening. Connecting to the opening there is a bridge like a track toward the bright light in distance. I try to get into the opening, but the opening is moving faster than me.